Thursday, July 15, 2004

What lies ahead

Ruth Walker has posted another stand-out entry to the Verbal Energy blog, this one about the evolution of language. She wonders how long it will be before the Declaration of Independence becomes as difficult to parse as Chaucer is to us now.
Her bets on change to come? She sees the naked intransitive, the transposed gerund, and the morphed transitive. Here, in English:
The naked intransitives are verbs that used to need help but now stand on their own -- recreating (back formation of recreation), caving (instead of caving in).
The transposed gerunds include fund raising (instead of raising funds), problem solving (instead of solving problems).
And the morphed transitives allow verbs to switch their objects and subjects. Her big example is a person "graduating high school" (vs. his graduating from high school or the high school graduating him).


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